Synopses & Reviews
With his unmatched investigative skill, Bob Woodward tells the behind-the-scenes story of how President George W. Bush and his top national security advisers, after the initial shock of the September 11 attacks, led the nation to war.
Extensive quotations from the secret deliberations of the National Security Council -- and firsthand revelations of the private thoughts, concerns and fears of the president and his war cabinet -- make "Bush at War" an unprecedented chronicle of a modern presidency in time of grave crisis.
Based on interviews with more than a hundred sources and four hours of exclusive interviews with the president, "Bush at War" reveals Bush's sweeping, almost grandiose, vision for remaking the world. "I'm not a textbook player, I'm a gut player," the president said.
Woodward's virtual wiretap into the White House Situation Room reveals a stunning group portrait of an untested president and his advisers, three of whom might themselves have made it to the presidency.
Vice President Dick Cheney, taciturn but hard-line, always pressing for more urgency in Afghanistan and toward Iraq.
Secretary of State Colin Powell, the cautious diplomat and loyal soldier, tasked with building an international coalition in an administration prone to unilateralism.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the brainy agitator and media star who led the military through Afghanistan and, he hopes, through Iraq.
National security adviser Condoleezza Rice, the ever-present troubleshooter who surprisingly emerges as perhaps the president's most important adviser.
"Bush at War" includes a vivid portrait of CIA director George Tenet, ready and eager for covert action against terrorists in Afghanistan and worldwide. It follows a CIA paramilitary team leader on a covert mission inside Afghanistan to pay off assets and buy friends with millions in U.S. currency carried in giant suitcases.
In "Bush at War, " Bob Woodward once again delivers a reporting tour de force.
"Woodward does an excellent job of exposing the seat-of-their-pants planning sessions conducted at the highest levels of power....While at times relying a bit too heavily on transcribed conversations, Woodward nonetheless offers one of the first truly insightful and informative accounts of the decision making process in the war on terror." Publishers Weekly
"It would be hard not to conclude from the evidence presented [here] that dubious planning...allowed bin Laden to slip away....[Woodward] stubbornly refuses to draw any conclusions from the story he describes. Instead, he lets the armchair generals of this world decide. No doubt, the author is hedging his bets for his next book. He understands that in Washington, access is still more important than analysis." Philip Smucker, The Christian Science Monitor
"The truly sensitive issues for the Bush administration are those that are given short shrift in the book or left out entirely. We hear no inside accounts of its failure to track down the anthrax terrorists. John Ashcrofts inability to arrest a single terrorist during his post-9/11 mass roundups goes unnoticed." Frank Rich, The New York Times
"Bob Woodwards new book, Bush at War, is a great read....But his account, as usual, reflects the limitations of his special brand of reporting. Cooperative sources are portrayed more favorably than holdouts; gaps in the narrative are unexplained; and the book is bereft of analysis. Nevertheless, because of his ability to penetrate government decision-making, he brings important new information to light." James Rubin, The New York Observer
"In page after dreadful page of his latest book...Bob Woodward demonstrates an old adage about journalism in wartime: The first casualty is truth....This 'inside' account relies chiefly on self-serving recollections of the chief participants...and sanitized transcripts of meetings in which the main players sound like theyre playing to a televised audience rather than speaking to each other." G. Pascal Zachary, In These Times
"Washington Post" journalist Bob Woodward was allowed unprecedented access to presidential closed-door meetings and briefings in order to examine how George W. Bush has fared as 44th US president since the September 11th acts of terrorism. This volume reveals his findings.
About the Author
Bob Woodward, an assistant managing editor of The Washington Post, has been a newspaper reporter and editor for more than 30 years. He has authored or coauthored eight No. 1 national nonfiction bestsellers. They include four books on the presidency -- All the President's Men (1974), The Final Days (1976), The Agenda (1994) and Shadow (1999) -- and books on the Supreme Court (The Brethren, 1979), the Hollywood drug culture (Wired, 1984), the CIA (Veil, 1987) and the Pentagon (The Commanders, 1991). He is also author of national bestsellers on the presidential campaign (The Choice, 1996) and Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan (Maestro, 2000). He has two daughters, Tali and Diana, and lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, Elsa Walsh, a writer for The New Yorker.